Vehicle charger installation. Connecting the Receptacle

How to Install an Electric Vehicle Charger | A DIY Guide

It’s no secret that gas have been through the roof lately. That has motivated a lot more people to consider transitioning to an electric vehicle. My wife and I have had a Tesla Model 3 for a few years now and I personally love the car. Today I’m going to show you how to install an electric vehicle (Tesla) charger in your home in the event you decide to go electric.

As with every video I do that involves electricity, I want to warn you that working with your electrical panel carries risk of injury or death and that I am not a licensed electrician. However, I have a lot of experience working with residential electricity and am comfortable in my abilities to operate with it safely. I’m merely showing you what is involved, and if at any time you are not comfortable doing anything I’m demonstrating in this video, please call a professional. There’s no sense in you injuring yourself or others just to save a few bucks. With that being said, let’s dive in.

What You’ll Need

For this install we are going to be using some electrical conduit, some 8ga stranded wire, a 40amp dual pole breaker, a 4” electrical box, some screws or toggle bolts, some electrical tools including a fish tape and wire strippers/cutters, and a NEMA 50amp 220v plug.

The Tesla Model 3 can handle up to a 50amp circuit to charge the vehicle. However, I am using a 40amp breaker with 8 ga wire because 8 ga wire is easier to pull through conduit than 6ga wire. The lower the gauge of the wire, the thicker it is and the more amperage it can accommodate. Here’s a basic amperage rating for the various thicknesses of wiring you’ll typically find in your home.

I’ve also done this in the past using a 30 amp circuit and 10 ga wire. The car will charge either way. However, the larger the circuit, the faster it will charge.

The first thing we’re going to do is turn the power off at the panel. Keep in mind that will kill all the power in the house and all the circuits. However, it doesn’t stop the power from coming in to the panel. Make sure you still work carefully and avoid the main leads coming into the panel.

Checking Your Breaker Panel

You’ll need to make sure your panel has space to accommodate the breaker for the charger. I happen to know I have a few unused breakers in the panel from previously installed things. So I am going to repurpose a breaker that was previously used for an old electric oven. When selecting a breaker, you need to make sure that your new breaker matches the breaker style for your panel. I used a Square D panel which is usually written somewhere on the panel itself.

Next we’re going to install our box where we want it to be by screwing it to the wall on a stud or using toggle bolt anchors. From there we can start to install our conduit. I’m using schedule 40 PVC conduit because it’s easier to work with. However, I wanted to use 1” diameter conduit but it wasn’t in stock at the time so I went with ¾”. I’d recommend using the 1” conduit so that it’s easier to pull the wiring through.

Installing the conduit will depend on your location. In this case I’m going up the wall, through a dividing wall into different portion of the garage, and then connecting to the panel. Using a pair of PVC cutters and a tape measure makes this part pretty simple. When you get to a corner, you can use one of these 90° junctions. Once you have the majority of the conduit run, connect it to your panel box by removing one of the panel knockouts and connecting it with a connection and nut. I recommend dry fitting all the pieces and making sure everything looks good before going back and gluing up your connections.

Pulling Your Wiring

Now comes the fun part of pulling your wiring. The thicker your wiring, the more twists and turns you have, and the smaller your conduit, the harder it will be to pull. That’s why I recommend using the 1” conduit and the 8ga stranded wire. Stranded wire is essential to be able to pull. I’ll be pulling 4 wires. A red and a black, which will be the hot wires, (110v’s each which add up to 220v) a neutral wire, and a ground wire. Feed the wire fish tape through the conduit until it pops out the other side. It doesn’t necessarily matter which direction you pull from. I opted to pull away from the panel towards the end box. Once your fish tape is popped out the other end, you have to attach your wire to it. It involves stripping back a bunch of the wiring, twisting it together, and making everything as small as possible. You also don’t want to be shy about taping the hell out of it. You’re going to be wrenching on it pretty good and you don’t want to have it come apart halfway through your conduit run.

I screwed up in this case because I tried to pull the whole lengthall at once. If you have a 90° junction anywhere in your run, this is going to be really hard to do. I should’ve started pulling from the 90°, got the wire to this point, and then unhooked everything and started over for the rest of the way. I ended up doing anyway but it was more difficult than it should have been.

Once I pulled it all the way through to the box, I made sure I had about 8” sticking out of the box after cutting off the waste from the fish tape.

EV Charging – Home Installation

Charging your EV is just as easy as pumping gas. Where, when and for how long depend on what type of charging equipment you use.

Home Installation

While a Level 1 charger can use a regular 120-volt household electrical outlet with no additional equipment, a Level 2 charger requires the installation of electrical vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

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“EVs are superior vehicles when comes to acceleration and how they handle on turns. Solar panels on our house generate enough electricity per year to drive our EV 35,000 miles per year. Solar panels combined with EV let us be energy independent.”

Robert Borkowski, Ijamsville, MD

Maryland Electric Vehicles

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Installing a Level 1 electric vehicle charger

Level 1 EV chargers come with your electric vehicle and don’t require any special installation – simply plug your Level 1 charger into a standard 120 volt wall outlet and you’re ready to go. This is the biggest appeal of a Level 1 charging system: you don’t have to deal with any extra costs associated with an installation, and you can set the entire charging system up without a professional.

A level 2 EV charger uses 240 volts of electricity. This has the benefit of offering faster charging time, but it requires a special installation procedure as a standard wall outlet only provides 120 volts. Appliances like electric dryers or ovens use 240 volts as well, and the installation process is very similar.

Level 2 EV charger: the specifics

Level 2 installation requires running 240 volts from your breaker panel to your charging location. A “double-pole” circuit breaker needs to be attached to two 120 volt buses at once to double the circuit voltage to 240 volts, using a 4-strand cable. From a wiring perspective, this involves attaching a ground wire to the ground bus bar, a common wire to the wire bus bar, and two hot wires to the double-pole breaker. You may have to replace your breaker box entirely to have a compatible interface, or you may be able to simply install a double-pole breaker in your existing panel. It is essential to make sure that you shut off all power going into your breaker box by shutting off all breakers, followed by shutting off your main breaker.

Once you have the correct circuit breaker attached to your home wiring, you can run your newly installed 4-strand cable to your charging location. This 4-strand cable needs to be properly insulated and secured to prevent from damage to your electrical systems, especially if it is being installed outdoors at any point. The last step is to mount your charging unit where you will be charging your vehicle, and attach it to the 240 volt cable. The charging unit acts as a safe holding location for the charge current, and doesn’t let electricity flow through until it senses that your charger is connected to your car’s charging port.

Considering the technical nature and risk of a Level 2 EV charger DIY installation, it is always Smart to hire a professional electrician to install your charging station. Local building codes often require permits and inspections by a professional anyways, and making an error with an electrical installation can cause cause material damage to your home and electrical systems. Electric work is also a health hazard, and it is always safer to let an experienced professional handle electric work.

Professional installation can cost anywhere between 200 and 450,200 depending on the company or electrician you work with, and this cost can rise higher for more complicated installs.

Pairing your EV with rooftop solar is a great combined energy solution. Sometimes solar installers will even offer package purchase options involving a full EV charger installation with your solar installation. If you’re considering upgrading to an electric car sometime in the future, but want to go solar now, there are a few considerations that will make the process easier. For example, you can invest in microinverters for your PV system so that if your energy needs increase when you buy your EV, you can easily add extra panels after the initial install.

Installing a Level 3 electric vehicle charger

Level 3 charging stations, or DC Fast Chargers, are primarily used in commercial and industrial settings, as they are usually prohibitively expensive and require specialized and powerful equipment to operate. This means that DC Fast Chargers are not available for home installation.

Most Level 3 chargers will provide compatible vehicles with about 80 percent charge in 30 minutes, which makes them better suited for roadside charging stations. For Tesla Model S owners, the option of “supercharging” is available. Tesla’s Superchargers are capable of putting about 170 miles worth of range into the Model S in 30 minutes. An important note about level 3 chargers is that not all chargers are compatible with all vehicles. Make sure you understand which public charging stations can be used with your electric vehicle before relying on level 3 chargers for recharging on the road.

The cost for charging at a public EV charging station is also diverse. Depending on your provider, your charging rates may be highly variable. EV charging station fees can be structured as flat monthly fees, per-minute fees, or a combination of both. Research your local public charging plans to find one that fits your car and needs best.

Install an EV charger at home at home with Qmerit

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Qmerit Makes Home EV Charging Easy!

Qmerit is the North American leader in home EV charging installations. From upfront estimates to ongoing support—and every step in between—our turnkey installation services ensure the highest quality and a seamless customer experience.

Complete Assessment

Click on “Get Your Estimate Now” to answer some questions about your home configuration and provide a few photos.

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Based on your responses, we’ll send you an upfront pricing estimate which will then be confirmed by your installer.

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Expert Installation

Installation is completed by a local Qmerit-certified installer—an EV charging expert who is licensed, insured and background-checked.

Happy Charging!

Our dedicated customer support team is here for guidance throughout your installation process—and beyond.

What’s included with my installation?

  • Installation of a Level 2 hardwire charging station (which you provide) or a NEMA 14-50 outlet to be used with a Level 2 charging cord (may be included with your vehicle) – plus labor and materials
  • Main panel load calculation to assess available capacity
  • Permit and inspection (as required by local jurisdiction – fees apply)
  • Provide and install code-compliant electrical wiring and protective tubing
  • Provide and install a new, properly sized breaker in panel
  • Power up your charging unit and test for proper operation
  • 1-Year warranty on parts and labor

Qmerit can upgrade your panel to provide sufficient capacity for EV charging and future-proof your home to accommodate additional electrification technologies down the road.

Customer remains responsible for (a) payment of all applicable fees related to required permits, and (b) confirming the installer has applied for and been issued all necessary permits.

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What’s not included?

  • Level 2 charging station – this will need to be purchased by you ahead of your scheduled installation (Need a Level 2 charging station? Shop exclusive deals from top brands.)
  • Drywall, stucco, plaster, concrete or any other repairs to walls, ceilings or floors if penetration is required for wiring runs
  • Any trenching required if your garage is detached

Cut Your Home Charging Costs

It pays to go electric. Governments and utilities across the country are encouraging the adoption of EVs and other electrification technologies to promote sustainability and improve grid management.

You could be eligible to receive charging incentives totaling up to:

You could be eligible to receive charging incentives totaling up to:

You’ll receive full details with your upfront pricing estimate.

Why Trust Qmerit?

Qmerit is leading the charge in electrification. That’s the shift away from fossil fuels to more sustainable, energy-resilient, electric-powered technologies—and we’re making it easy with our expert installation services.

We put safety first.

Qmerit-certified installers are licensed, insured and rigorously screened. We follow industry best practices, manufacturer guidelines and local building regulations—and we handle all required permitting and inspections.

We save you time.

Only select electricians earn the exclusive Qmerit certification, so you can be confident in the caliber of their work. We spare you the time and hassle of researching contractors, poring over reviews and comparing quotes.

We’re trusted by top brands.

Qmerit is the trusted home installation partner to countless automakers and charger brands. They know we simplify the installation process with our seamless solutions—and share their high standards for safety and service quality.

We guarantee our work.

Our extensive track record includes more than 269,000 EV charging installations across North America. In addition to the exclusive Qmerit Peace of Mind Guarantee, every job is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Let Qmerit simplify your home charging experience. Getting started is easy!

Still have questions about Level 2 charging? Check out our FAQs.

Need bidirectional charger installation? Contact us now.

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Qmerit is North America’s most trusted installer for EV charging and other electrification technologies.

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